THE JOY OF DISCOVERING WHO YOU ARE

Monday, August 19, 2019


THE JOY OF DISCOVERING WHO YOU ARE

In his excellent book, SOUL PRINT, Mark Batterson tells the story of Corrie ten Boom traveling the world sharing her story of the atrocities she experienced at the hands of the Nazis. After a speech she would hold up a needlepoint she had been working on. The backside was a jumble of colors and threads with no discernible pattern. And she'd say, "That's how we see our lives. Sometimes it makes no sense." Then she'd turn the needlepoint over to reveal the finished side. And Corrie would conclude by saying, "This is how God views your life, and someday we will have the privilege of seeing it from His point of view."

Who are you? Who am I? There has never been and never will be anyone else like you. The same is true of all of us. We all should be on a journey to be all that God made us to be. Our moments of life are important. Moment by moment. Everything that has and will happen to us is shaping us to be who we are. I want to be me. I want to be who God intended for me to be!

I truly believe with all of my heart that God intended for me to be a preacher. I look back over my life and I see many of the moments meant to shape me into being ME. Of course I do not recognize them all. But I do recognize many that to my mind, point me in the right direction.

Don't take life for granted. Thank God for His providence. He is leading. Follow Him into the joy of you BEING YOU! Nobody else can be. Just you. Press on with Joy.

Corrie ten Boom often concluded her talks with the following poem:

                                 My life is but a weaving between my God and me,
                                 I do not choose the colors, He works so steadily,
                                 Oft times He weaves in sorrow, and I in foolish pride,
                                 Forget He sees the upper, and I the underside
                                 Not till the loom is silent, and the shuttles cease to fly
                                 Will God unroll the canvas and explain the reason why,
                                 The dark threads are as needful in the Weaver's skillful
                                        hand
                                 As the threads of gold and silver in the pattern He has
                                       planned.

CHURCH REFORMED

Thursday, August 01, 2019


CHURCH REFORMED
By Tim Bayly

OVERVIEW: In this book, Pastor Tim Bayly exposes lies the American evangelical church has believed and calls us to a simple, humble pattern of church that is clearly rooted in the Bible. It is a call to reform—a call to repent of the ways we have left God's design for the church, and a call to embrace what we see modeled for us in the Bible and in those places in church history where our fathers in the faith have been careful to show us what the Bible teaches. (From the back of the book)

AUTHOR: Tim Bayly was ordained a pastor in 1983. Since 1996, he has served as senior pastor of Trinity Reformed Church in Bloomington, Indiana. He is the author of Daddy Tried and co-author of The Grace of Shame. Tim and his wife Mary Lee have five children and twenty-some grandchildren.

MY REVIEW: This is a book about the church. The Scriptures make it plain that Christ is the head of the church which is His body. Christ loves the church and we should too. Those who are baptized are added to the church—His body. Tim Bayly has done an excellent job in this book of showing that in today's culture we have messed up God's plan for the church. He calls for reform!

Church Reformed points out what the church should be, what it should do, and why it matters. Tim Bayly writes clearly about how the church has gone away from God's pattern found in the Scriptures. He then takes what he calls the pattern and breaks it down piece by piece: the teaching of the Apostles, fellowship, the breaking of bread and prayer. I was a senior pastor for forty-seven years. I agree with Bayly that the early Christians set a marvelous example for us and that we need to follow that example.  I do not agree with everything that he says about baptism, the breaking of bread, etc. However, that does not take away from my favorable opinion of the need for this book. Tim Bayly loves the church and wants all Christians to love the church and be faithful to God's plans for the church as found in the Scriptures. I highly recommend this book.

(I received this book free from The Barnabus Agency for a fair and honest review.)

CALLED TO FORGIVE

Saturday, July 13, 2019

CALLED TO FORGIVE
By Anthony B. Thompson
With Denise George

OVERVIEW: This book is the account of pastor Anthony Batiste Thompson's wife's murder, the grief he experienced, and the radical choice to forgive the killer. But beyond that, pastor Thompson casts a compelling vision of the power of the forgiveness to transform our lives—personally, in our communities, and even in our nation.

AUTHORS: Anthony Batiste Thompson is the pastor of Holy Trinity Reformed Episcopal Church of Charleston. He was married to the late Myra Thompson. They have three children and six grandchildren. Denise George is the author/coauthor of thirty-one books. She is married to Dr. Timothy George. They have two grown children and one toddler grandson. George has served as founding director of LifeWay's Women's Ministry program and adjunct instructor at Beeson Divinity School.

MY REVIEW: Amazing. Absolutely amazing. This is a powerful story of forgiveness. While reading the book and now having read it, the same thought keeps coming to my mind, "How in the world could he do it? How could he forgive a man who killed his wife?" I too am a minister. I preached for forty-seven years. I preached many sermons on forgiveness. Still I wonder—could I forgive someone who murdered my beloved wife?

Pastor Thompson and his coauthor, Denise George tell the story of how on June 17, 2015, Dylann Roof, a young white man, attended the Wednesday evening Bible study at the predominantly black Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. An hour later, Roof pulled a concealed weapon and killed nine African-Americans as they prayed, including Myra Thompson, the wife of pastor Anthony Thompson. Myras' murder devastated Anthony, yet he chose to privately and publicly forgive the shooter.

The story is told in ten chapters. From the first chapter, The Unthinkable Tragedy to the last chapter, The Path to Healing and peace. It is hard to read because it is so sad but compelling and uplifting as you see Thompson's beautiful heart of forgiveness. There is added value in the Epilogue, the Bible study questions and the five appendixes.

(I received this book from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group for a fair and honest review)

ACCESSING THE RICHES OF HEAVEN

Saturday, June 01, 2019


ACCESSING THE RICHES OF HEAVEN
Keys To Experiencing God's Lavish Provision
By Patricia King

OVERVIEW: Patricia King believes that God has given us access to the riches of heaven here on earth? She dives into Scripture and answers questions like: Do I have to wait to experience God's goodness? What kinds of riches are in heaven? What impedes my access to this heavenly abundance? How can I receive my spiritual inheritance? Does God bestow different kinds of riches on different people.

AUTHOR: Patricia King is a respected apostolic leader, evangelist, author, television host, media producer and sought-after speaker who has given her life for the advancement of God's kingdom. She is founder of Patricia King ministries and Women in Ministries Network and co-founder of XPmedia.com. Patricia and her husband, Ron, have two adult sons and three grandchildren and live in Maricopa, Arizona.

MY REVIEW: If you are part of the charismatic movement, this book will be a blessing to you and build your faith. If you are not part of charismatic Christianity, this book can still be a blessing to you if you are open minded and always interested in studying the Scriptures. Patricia King uses many Scriptures to back up her beliefs. I do not always interpret the Scriptures she uses in the same way she does but I am always searching for truth anywhere I find it. I want to know what she believes. I want all of what God has for me. Hopefully you do too and will find this book interesting and challenging.

Patricia King wrote: "I received divine revelation, but when I acted on it, I experienced divine, heavenly encounters—angelic appearances, open visions and miracles." I have been a Christian for almost seventy years and I have never experienced these things. I do not believe in any special revelation beyond the Scriptures. But I remain open and continue to pray and search the Scriptures. As I said before, this is a book that many will be blessed by. Those who believe as Patricia does and even those who don't.

(I received this book from Chosen, a division of Baker Publishing Group, for a fair and honest review.)

ALWAYS NEAR

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

ALWAYS NEAR
10 Ways To Delight In The 
Closeness Of God
By Robert J. Morgan

OVERVIEW: In Always Near, Pastor Rob Morgan shares a lasting message: God wants an intimate relationship with you, and He has gone to great lengths to make it possible. In our chaotic world, it's easy to feel overwhelmed and isolated, far from our Lord. That's when we most need a reminder that God is in the room. He is here, in this place.

AUTHOR: Robert J. Morgan is a writer and speaker who serves as the teaching pastor at The Donelson Fellowship in Nashville. He is the author of several books with more than 4.5 million copies in circulation. He is available to speak at conferences and conventions. He and his wife Katrina, have three daughters and sixteen grandchildren. Contact him at www.robertjmorgan.com.

MY REVIEW: Always Near is a lovely little book that would be a splendid gift, a lovely coffee table book, and a blessing to have by your bedside. We all need ways to delight in the closeness of God. Always Near provides 10 ways.

The book begins with an uplifting, encouraging introduction and then part one is Delight in Jesus. It's always a good thing to begin with Jesus. Part two is Delight in Listening to God and that's good—that's very good. There are ten different parts and they are all good.

Robert Morgan writes in a clear, interesting and encouraging way. He uses several illustrations and stories in each individual message. This is a book that will help you feel the nearness of Jesus, just when you need Him.

(I received this book from Book Look Bloggers for a fair and honest review.)

40 VERSES TO IGNITE YOUR FAITH

Monday, April 22, 2019

40 VERSES TO IGNITE
YOUR FAITH
By Laurie Polich Short

OVERVIEW: In this powerful, accessible new book, author and speaker Laurie Short mines the Scriptures, revealing insights and promises from 40 verses we often overlook. Digging into these "in-between" verses, she unearths fresh wisdom, guidance, and encouragement that will help you seek and experience God in new, dynamic ways. From trusting God's timing, to not worrying about the future, to holding on to faith when things look dark, the deeper understanding gleaned from these verses will help you navigate the challenges that cross your path, breathe new life into your weary soul, and ignite your faith once again. (From the back of the book.)

AUTHOR: Laurie Polich Short is a popular speaker and author. She speaks at conferences, colleges, churches, and denominational events around the country and has been featured on PBS, Focus on the Family, World magazine, and more. Find out more at www.laurieshort.com.

MY REVIEW: The 40 verses That Laurie Polich Short writes about in this splendid book are lesser-known Scripture verses. But she unearths fresh wisdom and encouragement from each of them. I have been busy highlighting and underscoring these verses and making notes in the margins of my Bible. Before retiring I preached, taught Bible classes for the church and taught extension courses in Bible for Pepperdine University. In all that time, I didn't spend much time with these 40 verses. Laurie Polich Short has helped me to see what I missed. These verses and her insights have been a blessing to me.

I agree with comedian Kerri Pomarolli who wrote: "Laurie Polich Short has a way of making every reader feel as if they are having an intimate one-on-one chat with a friend. She writes with clear messages and thought-provoking questions that make us think and ponder biblical truths in a new, enlightening way."

You can look these verses up in Bible commentaries and be blessed by what theologians think about them. And I have done that with most of them. But I feel I have received a double blessing by having these insights from Laurie. I like what pastor and author, John Burke said, "Laurie's life experience gives her great wisdom in bringing insight to life from Scripture verses we often miss, and these insights will deeply encourage your walk of faith."

(I received this book from Bethany House for a fair and honest review.)

WHAT IF IT'S TRUE?

Friday, March 29, 2019

WHAT IF IT'S TRUE?
A Storyteller's Journey With Jesus
Charles Martin

OVERVIEW:
With the same depth, sensitivity, and emotion that has made his novels beloved to millions, Charles Martin helps us engage the fundamental principles of our faith in new and inspiring ways.

Years ago, Martin cracked open his Bible and began wrestling with a few fundamental questions. He asked, “What if every single word of Scripture is absolutely true and I can trust it? How do I respond? Something in me should change, but what? How?” This book is the result of that exploration.

Writing as our guide, he uses a storyteller’s imagination to illuminate key moments from the Scriptures, primarily from the life and ministry of Jesus. In addition, Martin shares key moments from his own journey as a disciple—and bondservant—of Christ and a mentor to others. The result is a striking exploration of truth that helps us not just think differently, but live differently. Today.

AUTHOR: Charles Martin is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of twelve novels, including, The Mountain Between Us and Send Down the Rain. Charles and his wife, Christy live in Jacksonville, Florida. Learn more about him at charlesmartinbooks.com.

MY REVIEW: Excellent. Moving. True. I rarely if ever, begin a review this way. But this book is the exception. Did I say, "I like it"? I do. I like it a lot. Do I agree with everything Martin has to say in this book? No. But I agree with almost all of it and I think you will too.

However, if you do not enjoy reading Scripture do not buy this book. It is filled with the Word of God. Martin confesses that he is not a theologian. He is a writer. In my opinion, he is a writer with a good knowledge of Scripture. He uses a storyteller's imagination to illuminate key moments from the Scriptures, primarily from the life and ministry of Jesus. He also shares key moments from his life to help us live more like Jesus.

I agree with Ryan Britt, "Inside these pages, you will find the compassion of Jesus, the Father heart of God, and the endearing call of the Holy Spirit. Each chapter is a journey in and of itself, each prayer a healing balm to the wounded or wandering heart."

(I received this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for a fair and honest review.)

DECODING YOUR DREAMS

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

DECODING YOUR DREAMS
What the Lord May Be Saying to You
While You Sleep
By Jennifer LeClaire

OVERVIEW: In Decoding Your Dreams, Jennifer LeClaire demonstrates how God does indeed speak through dreams and why it is so important to understand what He's saying. Jennifer begins with biblical stories of mothers and fathers of the faith who experienced God through dreams at some of the most critical junctures of their lives. Jennifer is convinced God is still doing the same today, if we will only listen. Decoding Your Dreams teaches how to recognize the way God speaks through dreams by *showing how heroes of the Bible acknowledged dreams, *revealing the true source of dreams, *explaining dream classifications, and *pointing to scriptural and cultural dream codes.
(Taken from the back of the book.)

AUTHOR: Jennifer LeClaire is an internationally recognized conference speaker and prophetic voice. She is the senior leader of several prayer networks, including Awakening House of Prayer. Jennifer is a former editor of Charisma magazine and has authored more than twenty-five books, including Mornings with the Holy Spirit. She lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and is active online at www.Jenniferleclaire.org.

MY REVIEW: Let me begin by saying Decoding Your Dreams is well written and easy to read. Jennifer LeClaire knows a lot about dreams and what she thinks they mean. I wanted to read and review this book because I do not know anything about how to interpret dreams. I would love to know more and I was hoping this book would help. It didn't. I'm sorry to say that. I like to give positive book reviews and most of the time I am happy to say that I can and do. I did enjoy this book and I think others will also. And others may gain a better understanding of how to interpret dreams by reading this book. More so than I did.

The part of the book I found most useful was: Conclusion: 20 Answers to Questions Every Dreamer Wants to Know. I think most readers will find this part of the book interesting because most of us have these same questions. I'm not going to tell you that LeClaire does a great and satisfying job of answering these questions. I simply don't know. I will keep this book on hand and I am sure I will refer to it again when puzzled by a dream.

So, if you like me, would like to know what the Lord may be saying to you while you sleep, you may want to check out Decoding Your Dreams. Just because I'm still "in a fog" on this subject it doesn't mean you will be. This book may be a great blessing for you.

(I received this book from Book Look Bloggers for a fair and honest review.)


HOLY ROAR

Monday, January 07, 2019

HOLY ROAR
7 Words That Will Change
The Way You Worship
By Chris Tomlin and Darren Whitehead

OVERVIEW: In Holy Roar, Chris Tomlin and Darren Whitehead share a fresh perspective from the worship practices of the ancient world. Grow in your understanding of praise as Darren offers unique insights. be inspired as Chris shares how those insights take shape in the stories behind some of your favorite worship songs, including "How Great is Our God," "We Fall Down," and "Good Good Father."

AUTHORS: Chris Tomlin has 12 albums, 16 #1 radio singles, a Grammy award, 21 Dove awards, and two platinum and five gold albums to his credit. He is among the most well-known and influential artists in music. It is estimated that each week 20-30 million people sing one of Tomlin's songs in worship. More than anything, Chris loves being a husband to Lauren and a dad to Ashlyn and Madison. Darren Whitehead is originally from Australia. He founded Church of the City in Nashville, Tennessee, in 2013. Each weekend around 6,000 people worship at one of the five locations across the metro area. Darren holds both his masters and doctorate degrees in ministry, with his dissertation research focusing on Millennial engagement in the Western Church. He lives with his wife, Brandy, and their three daughters, Sydney, Scarlett, and Violet in Nashville, Tennessee.

MY REVIEW: Holy Roar is a well written and easy to read book that will provide insight and encouragement to deepen your practice of praise. Being eighty-four years of age and having been a pastor for forty-seven years I feel I know quite a bit about praise. I agree with Louie Giglio who said, "I can't think of two more powerful voices to call us to a vibrant life of worship than Chris Tomlin and Darren Whitehead." However, I also feel that their book appeals more to Millennials than to those in my age group.

This is a small book with seven encouraging and uplifting chapters. Max Lucado wrote, "Chris and Darren have written an inspiring, insightful, and practical book on worship." After you read Holy Roar you will want to worship God with everything you have. This is an important book and one that needs to be read by every worshipper.

( I received this book from Book Look Bloggers in exchange for a fair and honest review.)

FEEL BETTER FAST AND MAKE IT LAST

Thursday, November 29, 2018

FEEL BETTER FAST
AND MAKE IT LAST
By Daniel G. Amen, MD

OVERVIEW: In Feel Better Fast and Make It Last, you'll discover powerful brain-based strategies to quickly gain control over anxiety, worry, sadness, stress, and anger, strengthening your resilience and giving you joy and purpose for a lifetime.

AUTHOR: Dr. Daniel G. Amen is a physician, a double board-certified psychiatrist, the founder of Amen Clinics, a 10-time New York Times bestselling author, and an international speaker. Together with Pastor Rick Warren and Mark Hyman, MD, Dr. Amen is also one of the chief architects of Saddleback Church's Daniel Plan, a program to get the world healthy through religious organizations. Dr. Amen has written, produced, and hosted many popular public television shows about the brain that have aired across North America. He has spoken for the National Security Agency, and his work has been featured in outlets, including Newsweek, Time magazine, HuffPost, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and Men's Health.

MY REVIEW: Most of us know people who need to overcome negativity, anxiety, anger, stress and trauma. Maybe not all of these, but at least one or two. I wanted to get this book hoping to help my friends. I found out that I could be a friend to myself by reading it and following Dr. Amen's wise counsel. I agree with him that "No one feels joyful all the time, but with an understanding of how your brain, mind, and attachments work—and of strategies to enhance their functioning—you are more likely to love your life and feel better every day.

The book is divided into seven different and helpful parts. An example is part 5 about nourishment. Dr. Amen talks about the feel better fast diet and then lists foods that help you feel great now and later. I especially liked part 7 about love. He states that doing the right thing is the ultimate act of love for self and others. I agree. Yes! We need to know and do the right thing. We will feel better!

I agree with Andrew Newberg, MD who wrote, "Fascinating and important neuroscience information on how to boost your mood, quiet anxiety, and increase your overall brain health, I highly recommend it."

(I received this book from Tyndale House Publishers for a fair and honest review.)

FINDING FAITH IN OURSELVES AND SOMETHING BIGGER

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

THE HUNDRED STORY HOME
A Memoir of finding faith in ourselves
and something bigger
By Kathy Izard

OVERVIEW: In The Hundred Story Home, Kathy Izard invites us to live out our own stories more fully. She wrote The Hundred Story Home not to convince you to solve homelessness in your community but to help you solve the homelessness in you. This beautiful memoir reminds us that not only can we help change the world, but in doing so we change ourselves. Following an insistent whisper, Kathy quit her job as a graphic designer and began to do what seemed unimaginable: build a home for Charlotte's homeless. Kathy was a mother of four, in the second half of her life, and the task didn't make any sense, yet it proved to be her first step in finding her way home.

AUTHOR: Kathy Izard was an award-winning graphic designer for twenty years in Charlotte before launching the pilot program Homeless to Home for the Urban Ministry Center in 2007. She successfully demonstrated this Housing First program could succeed and led the city-wide effort to build Moore Place, Charlotte's first permanent supportive housing for more than one hundred chronically homeless men and women. For more information, please visit KathyIzard.com.

MY REVIEW: If you have a heart for the plight of the chronically homeless, this is  a book you will want to read. If you know, are related to or feel deeply concerned about someone with bipolar disorder, you will be interested in this book. Most of all, this book will help you find faith, strengthen your faith, find faith in yourself or something bigger.

I was immediately interested and drawn into this book when I discovered what it was about. As a minister for over forty-seven years I knew that Jesus had a heart for the homeless and so did I. I just never knew what to do about it. I still don't know how to handle the homeless situation in my own city of Phoenix. But I now know more than I did before reading this book. I was also drawn in because like Kathy's mother, who was mentally ill, I have a niece who I love dearly that has a bipolar disorder.

I agree with author Courtney Westlake who said, "Compelling and convicting, The Hundred Story Home is a powerful testament to the way one person can affect transformation at the deepest levels. Kathy's beautiful storytelling propelled me outside of my comfort zones...It's impossible to read The Hundred Story Home and walk away unchanged."

(I received this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for a fair and honest review.)

PRAYING THE PROMISES

Wednesday, September 12, 2018


PRAYING THE PROMISES
Anchor Your Life To Unshakable Hope
By Max Lucado & Andrea Lucado

OVERVIEW: In Praying the Promises, Max Lucado invites you into a deeper understanding of the peace and security God offers his people. Through thirty Bible promises, reflections on the lives of biblical people of faith, and guided prayers, you will see a clearer picture of the promise of God and how he is the rock you can build your life upon.

AUTHORS: Max Lucado has more than 130 products in print. He is America's bestselling inspirational author. He serves the Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas, where he lives with his wife, Denalyn, and their mischievous mutt, Andy. Andrea Lucado is a freelance author of English Lessons: The Crooked Path of Growing Toward Faith. She has a master's degree in English literature from Oxford-Brookes University and contributes regularly to online and print publications such as Relevant magazine and She Reads Truth.

MY REVIEW: Max Lucado's daughter, Andrea joins him in making this a special book. They believe that praying the promises of God will anchor your life to unshakable hope. They don't promise a money back guarantee but they could have because you won't being asking for one. It works!

This is a small, beautifully bound volume that you will want to always have close at hand. You will not want to part with this special book but you will purchase extra copies to give as gifts. The world is a mess. We need help. We need hope. "For every problem in life, God has given us a promise. We can find hope by praying those promises."

Praying The Promises has a brief introduction and then thirty promises from God. So needless to say, this is a book filled with Scripture. Thirty times a section begins with a Scripture that sets a theme. Then the Lucados write briefly about that theme. And that is followed by four promises of God. And the section closes with praying the promises. "Trouble comes but so does God."

(I received this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for a fair and honest review.)

ETERNITY IS NOW IN SESSION

Thursday, September 06, 2018

ETERNITY IS NOW IN SESSION
A Radical Rediscovery Of What Jesus
Really Taught About Salvation,
Eternity, And Getting To The Good Place
By John Ortberg

OVERVIEW:  In Eternity Is Now In Session, bestselling author John Ortberg + engages in a radical rediscovery of what the Bible really says about salvation, + recaptures the New Testament definitions of salvation, eternal life, and the Good News of the gospel, + dispels the myth that eternal life is something we can only hope to experience after we die, and + talks about what it really means to be a disciple. And most important, he explains how we can experience the unspeakably rich, interactive fellowship and joy that exist between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Eternal life—here, now, every minute of every day.

AUTHOR: John Ortberg is the senior pastor of Menlo Church in Northern California and the bestselling author of many books. He has a PhD in clinical psychology and an MDiv from Fuller theological Seminary. He and his wife, Nancy, live in Menlo Park, California, and have three grown children. You can follow John at www.johnortberg.com and on Twitter and Facebook @johnortberg.

MY REVIEW: John Ortberg is one of my favorite authors. He writes in a way that flows and is easy to understand while writing about extremely difficult topics. Of all his books my favorite is If You Want to Walk on Water, You've Got to Get Out of the Boat. And now, Eternity Is Now In Session has logged in at second place.

This is an extremely important book because it deals with one of life's most important subjects—salvation. Ortberg says his book is a radical rediscovery of what Jesus really taught on this subject. And it is. At least for me it is. His opinion on what Jesus means when He talks about eternity is one that I think all of us need to listen to. I was helped by a quote in the book from Brenda Colijn who when talking about eternal life said, It is "primarily qualitative rather than quantitative." That is good. Very good!

This good book will help dispel the myth that eternal life is something we can only hope to experience after we die. We need this good news. Eternal life is now in session.

(I received this book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for a fair and honest review.)